I shouldn’t have done it. I wore heels to the Oklahoma State Capitol today. I knew from my last visit to the capitol (less than one month ago), that I would have to park nearly 1 mile away; I knew I would have to walk up and down stairs; I knew that my feet would hurt afterward. And despite my knowing, I did it again! I wore my black pumps to Nonprofit Advocacy Day.
As I sit at my desk with my feet throbbing and my knees aching, I ask myself…Sara, do you ever learn? Why in the world would you put yourself through pain, again? Especially, when I knew it could have been avoided. And I knew exactly how to avoid it!
What is it Taylor Swift sings? “I knew you were trouble… shame on me now.” Followed by “me-e-e-e-e-e-e-e” and “trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble.”
So why did I do such a thing?
Because, I want to measure up to societies standards. Because, I want to appear professional in the working-world. Because, I want to look my age. Pressures from our culture, the media, those little unspoken rules that define the life of a 21st Century American woman.
With models being at least 5’7, I fall slightly behind, barely pushing a 5’2. I get mistaken for a high-schooler constantly. The pants I purchase at the store are always a bit too long. Heels are guaranteed to make me look taller and leaner. They are professional and classy. I can’t go lobbying at the capitol without them! Or to a business meeting without them, or to visit a donor without them! Can, I?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase, “beauty is pain.” It’s astounding to think of all the pain that women (and men) throughout history have put themselves through to appear beautiful and acceptable in the eyes of their society. And we do this, only to have the standards of beauty continue to constantly alter and change.
I can’t imagine how much pain Lady Gaga is in right now. She just had hip surgery. Her hips were messed up so badly that she had to cancel her tour. The radio reported this morning, that her injuries were due to wearing outrageously high heels on a regular basis.
I heard this yesterday. YESTERDAY! And yet, I still flaunt around in my 3inchers. How silly am I?
It’s a difficult balance and a lot of questions run through my mind when I consider this.
First off, I want to feel pretty and feminine and beautiful. I, honestly, would like to be taller. I kind of like wearing heels because they make me feel a little more of all of these things. For some reason, I feel more powerful when my shoes clap against the floor. But, I only feel these ways because my world tells me that heels are supposed to make me feel this way. Can I not feel this way because I want to, not because I put my worth in a pair of shoes? Am I depending too much on heels for my value and sense of self? When it comes right down to it, I’m wearing heels not because they feel comfortable and I like them, but because of what society tells me and how they make me feel.
Yet, on the other hand, does it do me any good to “boycott the system” and “fight the man” (or in this case woman) who tells me I have to look and be a certain way? If I refuse to wear heels just because I don’t want to do what someone else tells me, then again, I’m not doing it because I want to, but I’m doing it to make a point. I’m not sure if making a point is doing justice for myself anymore than doing what someone else tells me I need to do.
Additionally, I’m not sure if I can say that I won’t wear heels because they hurt. I regularly do others things that are uncomfortable. For instance, exercising. It’s painful and I hate it, but I do it for a better me. And drinking water. Ok, maybe not so painful, but abstaining from Diet Coke in order to drink more water can be painful. But again, a better outcome for me. Though, wearing heels isn’t quite the same. It’s actually the opposite considering health and bettering oneself. Heels physically damage our bodies. Again, it goes back to our self-esteem.
I don’t think any girl wears heels to make herself physically stronger or better, but to make herself ‘feel’ better and have that sense of power and authority. I’m curious to know, apart from this powerful ‘feeling,’ if any girl any where actually LIKES wearing high heels and is comfortable wearing them.
So maybe, I’m a little crazy, and wearing heels isn’t that big of a deal. At least, not in moderation, right? I’m not telling you to throw away every pair of high heels you own and never wear them again. I most likely won’t do that.
But, the whole situation does make me think about the reasons behind why I do things, if the pain that I put myself through in certain situations is really worth it or not, and where I find my value and worth as a person.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”‘ 1 Samuel 16:7